WORDS & PHOTOS Jake Grove
The Menlo Park Slide Jam is one of those events that I had never personally been too, but always got stoked on it just from the coverage alone. Of course, the rest of Wheelbase Fam has been shooting, skating, and representing at the event for some time, and this year I finally made it out with them for the return of the event. The Menlo Jam has been going down for years — since its start in 2010 to be exact — and continues to draw a wide range of skaters from all around to its flossin’ flowy features.
I hadn’t planned on making it out to this year’s event either, until word got to me that we were filling up the Bustin “Skate Everything” Van and rallying up for a weekend trip of shredding, shralping, and documenting. Long story in a short time, short, we rallied up to the Bay Area Mid Saturday, leaving from Long Beach the morning of, and made it just in time for the second half of the event.
It was cool as always to see so many familiar faces, and some new, keeping the dream alive an event at a time. When we rolled up, we were greeted by the popping tones of the slider bus, a plethora of high fives and “whats-up-dudes”, and a steady stream of riders taking to the hill — slipping slides, hopping ramps, and tuckin’ tucks.
The hill itself was a sweet little spot off the side of the suburban landscape, and lived up to its appearance of years past — some soccer mom spectators, a kicker here and a kicker there, as well as a constant shout of the megaphone from bro-dudes. Though the course features have varied the past few years, we had a hill and some kickers, and that’s all that we needed to make some fun.
That said, as the day came to a close, a true competition formed around two riders—the longest jump event. The event staff started it off like a Downhill Disco styled launch—go as far as each rider can make it and pull the ramp further each round until one gets knocked out or lands it further. The only difference is that we weren’t doing this on a larger ramp with a specifically designed landing pad. This was a two foot high gap setup that was stretched apart to make for a low and far jump. A handful of dudes hopped on it the first few rounds, but as the gap got bigger and the ollies stretched further, it was left up to our homie Jakob Santos and Quentin Gachot.
At the point that we arrived, a heavy amount of free-skating was going off, and as the day progressed a few different longest slide and such competitions went down in between. Even through the competitions though, there wasn’t a serious competitive edge to the day—riders went for what they were feeling, and although a few made it to the top of the podium, the stoke was flowing more on speedy pack runs, launch ramp trick flipping, and even just skurting down the full hill on those coaster-wheeled freeboard contraptions.
The organizers pulled the ramp apart until it proved a challenge for both riders; they would each struggle to land it, yet as always once one would make it, the other would just barely make it behind. The gap stretched to extreme lengths, and in the end both riders called it quits and named it a tie; the riders both pushed it to their limits, and in the end, Jakob pulled it just a little bit further on the landing.
The event quickly mellowed out after that peak of ramp-slamming heavy-handling action, and talk shifted from who was in the lead of the competition, to where the raging parties would be that night— or for our crew, figuring out where we were going to crash at. The crucial thanks, mandatory shaka-brah fist bumps, and custom etched board trophies went out and that was that. Another event done and down in the books—Shouts, slams, tricks, and tucks, and a few shots to go along.
THANK YOUS: A big thanks to everyone that set it up and got the event going once again. The event sponsors were Black Diamond, Sector 9 Skateboards, Loaded Boards, Orangatang Wheels, Landyachtz Longboards, Freebord, Nixon, Boosted Boards, Venom Skate, Bones Bearings, Abec 11 Wheels, Sk8ology, and more. And thanks to Bustin Boards and Wheelbase for getting me and the boys up there. Until next time, stay classy Menlo Park.